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Letter from the Superintendent regarding 2019-2020 School Calendar


Community Forum-Capital Improvement Bond, March 6, 2019


National Merit Scholarship Competition Finalist

Harborfields High School senior Albert Zhang, named a National Merit semifinalist this past fall, was just named a finalist in the program! This prestigious program seeks to honor the nation’s scholastic champions, and to encourage the pursuit of excellence in academics.

Of these finalists, Albert will be competing with the top one percent of students nationwide for one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, which cumulatively are worth more than $31 million. Notification of National Merit Scholarship recipients will be released between the spring and summer months of 2019. Congratulations Albert!

Hydrofluoric Robotics Heads to LI Championship

The Harborfields Robotics Program recently entered three teams into the FIRST Tech Challenge and placed impressively. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization whose mission is to inspire students’ interest and participation in science and technology by holding regional, state, and nationwide robotics competitions.

Hydrofluoric Robotics, one of the club’s three teams comprised of upperclassman, won the third qualifier Jan. 13 advancing them to the Long Island championship in March. The upperclassmen team also won the “Control Award”, which recognizes a team that successfully uses software and sensors to enhance robot performance.

The program’s “rookie” team, Technetium made it to the playoffs, winning a second-place medal and trophy.

At the fourth qualifier on Feb. 9, the sophomore team, At Least it Didn’t Explode, won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award which celebrates a team that thinks outside the box and succeeds in making their designs come to life.

The upperclassman team, Hydrofluoric Robotics, will be competing at the LI Championship in Syosset on March 9th. Congrats, students!

January of Jazz

The month of January in 2019 proved memorable for the HHS jazz band, as two special visitors conducted clinics with the ensemble. On Jan. 16, renowned multi-reedist Jeff Lederer visited HHS during the school day. Representing LIU Post, where he heads up the jazz program, Lederer came with a jazz-fusion group—Post Modern—to perform for a broad cross-section of the student-musicians. He then stayed to work closely with the jazz band, covering everything from swing to collective improvisation.

On the evening of Jan. 30, rising saxophonist Adam Larson came in to work the group through some important topics. With band parents and families as an audience, Larson took the students through a wide variety of territories—instruments setups, warm-ups, improvisational basics, and the realities of life as a working musician.

Additionally, Larson sat in with the band, adding a jam session atmosphere to the visit.

“There’s no substitute for these types of experiences,” remarked Harborfields High School Jazz Band Director Dan Bilawsky. “Bringing in individuals of this caliber to work with the kids is absolutely priceless.”

2019 National PTA Reflections Winners at Washington Drive

2019 National PTA Reflections Winners at Washington Drive photo
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Washington Drive Primary School recently celebrated students from kindergarten through second grade who participated in the National PTA Reflections program. This program is a National PTA competition that begins at the school level that helps students gain confidence in exploring ideas and learning through cultural arts. Students were asked to respond to the year’s theme “Heroes Around Me.”

Six students were named winners at the school-wide level, and continued on to the regional level of the competition: 1st grader Jaxson Beal and second-grader Owen Birmingham for visual arts; 1st grader Avery Muller for photography; second graders Iliana Diaz and Muhammad Qasim for literature, and second-grader Aubrey DeMaio for dance. Aubrey was also named regional winner for her submission and has moved on to the state level for judging.

Along with the school’s other Reflections participants, winners were honored at a special ceremony held at Washington Drive on Jan. 31.

Congratulations students!


Student and professional French horn players from Suffolk County and beyond came together on Jan. 18 to take part in the 14th Annual Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association (SCMEA) Day of Horn. Harborfields French horn players from elementary through high school represented our district with pride at this unique event.

Participants included TJL students Anderson Howe, Dean Mason, Matthew Rampersaud, and Christian Maughan; OMS students Ethan Wisoky, Lucy MacInnes, and Eli Antonison; and Harbofrields High School student Danielle Barber. Harborfields music faculty member Cathy Ferraro accompanied our students and joined in the enjoyment of the day.

Great job, students!

Flapjacks Raise Funds for St. Jude

Flapjacks Raise Funds for St. Jude photo
The Student Government at Oldfield Middle School held their fifth annual Flapjack Fundraiser on Jan. 12 and raised $1,500. All proceeds are going towards St. Jude Children’s Hospital Research. Thank you to all who participated, contributed, and attended!

Hands on Social Studies at OMS

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In Mrs. Jennifer Klein’s social studies classes at Oldfield Middle School, each unit culminates with a performance task that helps them bring their textbook learned knowledge to life.

Earlier this winter, students learned about ancient Mesopotamia and were required to design a currency that represented important aspects of the Sumerian civilization. A winner from each class was selected by district administrators who served as “judges.” Students Charlotte Hasher, Ava Ciafaidoni, and Brian Muro were all chosen for their artwork and knowledge of Mesopotamian culture.

When learning about ancient Egypt, students learned how the Egyptians mummified people after death, and had the opportunity to perform a real mummification on an apple. Students even built tombs for their mummies.

Additionally, during the unit on Greece and Rome, students created mythology comic strips and dress as Greek deities, and built 3D models of certain aspects of Roman daily life and architecture. At the end of the school year, students will choose a civilization we have not studied and prove to their peers why it is considered a civilization.

“Integrating performance tasks truly helps students demonstrate their understanding of a unit,” said Mrs. Klein, “and they enjoy being able to physically create something to demonstrate that knowledge.”

Collecting Cans for the Soup-er Bowl

Collecting Cans for the Soup-er Bowl photo
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On merely the first day of Washington Drive’s fifth annual Soup-er Bowl food drive, the school came together and managed to fill two whole buckets of canned goods for local Harborfields families in need. To promote a bit of friendly competition, students were encouraged to bring in food to fill the bucket of the team they believe will win the Super Bowl. The drive, which runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, has a goal of surpassing last year’s whopping 300 cans. Throughout the week, the morning announcements will include which team has the most cans, motivating students to bring in more the following days.

The cans will be donated to the food pantry at Washington Drive. This fundraiser is part of the Acts of Kindness Committee, run by co-chairs Alyson Elish and Jennifer Pennisi, and is comprised of teachers who organize and run fundraisers throughout the school year. The co-chairs of this committee are Alyson Elish and Jennifer Pennisi.

Superhero Club Dodgeball Tournament for St. Jude Children’s Hospital

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In order to live up to their name, the Super Hero Club at Harborfields High School holds an annual fundraiser to benefit a specific cause in the surrounding community. This year, on Feb. 13 at 2:45 p.m., the club will be conducting a dodgeball tournament to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The cost is $40 per team, and each team requires eight members.

Students involved in the Superhero Club come together on a bi-monthly basis to discuss all things related to superhero culture—but many commented on enjoying the club for more than just the surface level.

“It’s one thing to just love superheroes and the culture surrounding the comics,” said student Angie Budhram, “but it’s another thing to step up and be the kind of hero that changes the world around them. Helping the community, even in the smallest ways, can create such an impact…and that’s what we seek to do each year with this fundraiser.”

To sign up, see Mr. Serie for a roster sheet!

Nickel Wars for a Good Cause

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Students enrolled in AP World History at Harborfields High School recently stepped up to make a difference in the world.

Groups of students who worked together to research non-governmental organizations presented and promoted humanitarian organizations to their classmates as if they were truly a part of the cause. Each class then voted on the organization that they believed did the most valuable work. Once each class had a selected organization, classes competed against each other in a “Nickel War,” attempting to raise the most money for their chosen causes.

The class that raised the largest amount of change chose to give the combined $400 to Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit organization that seeks to end human trafficking. Additionally, a local community business offered to match the classes’ combined funds, adding up to $800 to be given to the organization’s cause.

In addition to a moving presentation, students Gavin Storch and Ty Ellenbogen designed awareness bracelets for the cause, crafting each with a leather cord and a bronze ring, which both students wore during their presentation.

“I annually incorporate this project to help open our students’ eyes to the hardships in this world,” said social studies teacher Mrs. Michelle Da Silva. “We are so fortunate to live in the community we do, and it’s important to help students realize they can use their good fortune to help others.”

2nd Place WordMasters

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Congratulations to the team of fifth grade students from Thomas J. Lahey’s that placed second nationally in the first WordMasters Challenge of the year!

This national vocabulary competition, involving nearly 150,000 students annually, has three meets each year. Participating students are challenged to put their studied vocabulary to the test and exercise critical thinking skills using words to complete analogies.

TJL’s fifth grade team scored an impressive 199 points out of the possible 200, and placed second out of over 300 teams. These students are all enrolled in the English Language Arts strand of the Lahey Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP), and have an intense hunger for knowledge.

Competing in the difficult division of the challenge were fifth graders Jackson Dunham, Angelina Fernandez, Katherine Kenrick, Christopher Palermo, Brendan Schmitt, Talia Steinberg, Sophia Wiepert and Nina Wittig—each earning a perfect score of 20 on the challenge. Nationally, only 94 fifth graders achieved this result.

Other students from Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School who achieved outstanding results in the meet include fifth graders Mia Al-Sullami, Abigail Durham, Tara Greco, Anderson Howe, Norene Miraglia, Olive Olson-Effman, Katie Rosenthal, Anderson Soper, Griffin Thomas, Rhys Walter and Orion Yberg, and fourth graders Alec Gerde, Aidan Greco and Jacob Lam. The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challeng by teacher Mrs. Christine Mayr.
Congratulations, students!

DECA Students Recognized

DECA Students Recognized photo
The outstanding Harborfields High School business students that competed in the Suffolk County Regional DECA Competition at Suffolk County Community College were recognized at the district’s first Board of Education meeting of the year on Jan. 16.

“These students competed against more than 1,000 others across Suffolk County,” Dr. Rory Manning, “and they have made the district extraordinarily proud with their hard work and dedication to becoming leaders in our community.”

Nine students were named regional finalists, as well as one honorable mention, and one third place winner.
Congratulations, students!

Third Place Winner:
Annika Browne - Business Services Marketing

Regional Finalists:
Evan Ackerman - Business Management & Administration
Evie Burke - Apparel & Accessories Marketing
Lucas DeMeo - Sports & Entertainment Marketing
Giuliana Farino - Entrepreneurship
Andrew Grover - Business Finance
Katie Kennedy - Marketing Communications
Wade Leskody - Accounting Applications
Patrick Wilson - Food Marketing
Trevor Yorio - Food Marketing

Honorable Mention:
Hannah Proce - Principles of Marketing

DECA students are enrolled in Harborfields business classes taught by Mrs. Matthews or Mr. Mottl. Some classes that prepare students to participate in DECA are Career Awareness, College Marketing, and College Accounting.

The Wishing Well – A Tribute

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At the end of December, the Harborfields High School Wind Ensemble premiered a composition dedicated to the late Bob Domencetti, one of the district’s beloved past band directors.

“When Bob suddenly passed away in 2014, we wanted to find a meaningful way to honor him through music,” said Harborfields High School Band Director Allison Scilla.

Many of Domencetti’s family, friends and former students, taken with the idea, helped fund a commission penned by world renowned composer Rossano Galante. Using knowledge shared about Domencetti’s life and work, Galante crafted and completed an encomium entitled “The Wishing Well” in the summer of 2018. The high school wind ensemble began rehearsing the piece in the fall.

A week prior to the premiere, Galante traveled from California to Harborfields High School to work with the band. He spent the day teaching and rehearsing with students, and he shared the good news that this composition will be published by G. Schirmer in 2019.

“Through publication and giving other schools the opportunity to perform ‘The Wishing Well’ Bob’s legacy will live on and grow,” said Harborfields K-12 Music Department Coordinator Daniel Bilawsky.

About Bob Domencetti
Robert V. Domencetti was a native Ohioan and a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and Kent State University. He studied with conducting legends William Revelli, Fredrick Fennell, Frank Battisti, Fredrick Ebbs and Kenneth Snapp. During his 14 years of teaching in Ohio, his bands consistently received the state's highest ratings. After establishing himself as an educator of note in his home state, Mr. Domencetti moved to Greenlawn, NY, becoming the driving force behind the band program in the Harborfields Central School District. He became a valued member of the community, raising his children there, and went on to become the district's Director of Music. He continued to work as both a band director and administrator there until he retired in June of 1999. Bob was a friend and mentor to everyone he came in contact with during his years in the education profession and beyond. He is sorely missed by those who knew him.

Coach of the Year: Bob Davis

Coach of the Year: Bob Davis photo
Recently, Harborfields High School coach Bob Davis was selected by the National Federation of State High School Associations as the recipient of the 2017-2018 Northeast Coach of the Year for Girls Tennis. Coach Davis, who was also the recipient of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Girls Basketball Coach of the Year Award, was nominated for this prestigious award due to his previous recognition and was deemed the most deserving recipient for this honor amongst over a thousand high school tennis coaches in the Northeast.

“We are tremendously proud of Bob and this is a tremendous honor for Harborfields High School,” said Director of Health, Physical Education, Athletics John Valente. “He is well deserving of this prestigious award, and is a role model to all both on and off the tennis court.”

Congratulations Coach Davis!

American Legion Selectees

American Legion Selectees photo
Congratulations to HHS students Annika Browne and Samantha Lustig for being selected to participate in the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State Program this upcoming summer!

The ALA Girls State is a government-in-action program, where selected young women are guided by American Legion members to become leaders, stewards of freedom, and patriotic citizens. To be eligible to be selected for this program, students must be interested in current events and the government, show strong moral character, and demonstrate leadership abilities.

Local ALA members recommended these young women, who exhibit all of these qualities, for this selective program. Congratulations!

2018 SCMEA Selectees

In what may amount to a record for Harborfields, seventy students district-wide were selected for prestigious 2018 SCMEA All-County ensembles.

Such large numbers, with selection being based on individual student performance and achievement at the NYSSMA solo and ensemble festival in the spring of 2018, is indicative of the high-achieving students in our music program and the high standards held by our teachers.

“This is a testament to the hard work of our students, their support network outside of school, and the dedicated music staff in Harborfields,” said music department coordinator Mr. Daniel Bilawsky.


Harborfields Business Students Place in Regional DECA Competition

Harborfields Business Students Place in Regional DECA Competition photo
On Jan. 3, Harborfields High School business students competed in the Suffolk County Regional DECA Competition at Suffolk County Community College. Nine students were named regional finalists, one honorable mention, and one third place winner, Annika Browne, who will be will be advancing onto the state-level competition that will be held Rochester in March.

More than 1,000 students from Suffolk County participated in this regional competition.

DECA’s mission is to prepare students to become leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.

Third Place Winner:
Annika Browne - Business Services Marketing
Regional Finalists:
Evan Ackerman - Business Management & Administration
Evie Burke - Apparel & Accessories Marketing
Lucas DeMeo - Sports & Entertainment Marketing
Giuliana Farino - Entrepreneurship
Andrew Grover - Business Finance
Katie Kennedy - Marketing Communications
Wade Leskody - Accounting Applications
Patrick Wilson - Food Marketing
Trevor Yorio - Food Marketing
Honorable Mention (not pictured):
Hannah Proce - Principles of Marketing

Special Scholarship Competition Candidate

Special Scholarship Competition Candidate
Recently, Harborfields High School senior Yatharth Sharma qualified as a candidate for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s Special Scholarship Competition. This specific portion of the competition is sponsored by Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., who sets additional requirements for students to be eligible scholarship candidates.

Earlier this year, Yatharth was selected as a National Merit Commended Student as well, placing him among the top 3% highest scoring students on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit across the country. Congratulations!

Holiday Spirit Booming at Thomas J. Lahey

Holiday Spirit Booming at Thomas J. Lahey photo

Students at TJL had the opportunity to play holiday classics using unconventional instruments called “boomwhackers” in music class during the month of December. Boomwhackers, hollow plastic tubes that are tuned to a musical pitch, are played just as their name suggests—creating a boom by whacking them on the floor.

Music teacher Mrs. Courtney Kassinger, who has been working with her students to help them perfect the art of sight-reading, taught students songs for Hanukkah earlier in the month, as well as the cultural significance behind each song. As Christmas approached, Mrs. Kassinger taught them holiday classics such “Let it Snow”, “Jingle Bells” and more, expounding on the stories behind them as well.

For example, students learned that Jingle Bells was originally written as a song for Thanksgiving but somehow became adopted as a Christmas classic. Students also learned that bells were used on sleighs to alert people that someone was approaching, and other interesting facts.

“I love learning about songs ‘behind the scenes’,” one student said during the lesson.

Students attempted playing simple songs like jingle bells, but were also put to the test with difficult compositions like portions of “the Nutcracker”, and left their classes humming seasonal songs and enjoying the buzz of holiday spirit.

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